Pumpkin Fest in Caledon is one of the best fall activities to do near Toronto

21 ways to make the most of fall in and around Toronto

Pull out your knit sweaters, light those candles and fill your shelves with all the pumpkin spice you can find, because we’ve hit the coziest (and also scariest!) season of the year. Technically fall is still weeks away, but there’s only so much time in Toronto after the chaos of summer vacation and before the chaos of winter holidays. We have to embrace every minute of fall, so start making the most of the season by enjoying these can’t-miss autumn activities in Toronto!

Journey through a corn maze

Just an hour outside Toronto sits a maze of five-and-a-half foot corn stocks surrounded by 165 acres of farm fun at Andrew’s Farm Market & Winery. If you can’t get past the fear of corn mazes instilled by every horror movie, the farm offers animal corrals, wagon rides and walking trails.

Eat a fresh pie (or two)

With the arrival of fall comes the end of the summer food season, and there’s no better way to say goodbye than with an indulgence of some savoury, mouth-watering warm pie. With apple season now underway, Springridge Farm offers one of the most in-demand, famous and fresh-baked apples you can find, and only an hour outside the city.

Oktoberfest Toronto

Take a trip to Europe with the return of Oktoberfest Toronto at the end of the month. Returning after a two-year hiatus, the festival will take over Ontario Place for a weekend of festivities, fun and, of course, plenty of German beer.

Enjoy the fall colours

Tourists might flock to Muskoka to gaze at the incredible warm colours that decorate the trees during an Ontario fall, but locals know there’s plenty to see even here in the south. For an easy walk, High Park and Evergreen Brick Works have a kaleidoscope of foliage. For longer day hikes outside the city, view the breath-taking Niagara Escarpment from Milton’s Mount Nemo, or walk through a forest of golden sunshine at the Forks of the Credit past Brampton.

Get frightened at Halloween Haunt

As a kid, the most enjoyable part about Halloween is dressing up and asking strangers for candy; as an adult, the best part is watching your friend jump in fear when a bloody zombie grabs their ankle and whispers their name. When Canada’s Wonderland turns into a massive haunted house in the fall, the monsters are truly terrifying.

Take Instagram-worthy pics at Pumpkin Fest

Put on your best pull-over sweater and high-top boots, drive out to Caledon, and drown yourself (and your Instagram feed!) in a sea of orange. Between the pumpkins of all sizes and the iconic Jack-o-lantern barn, Downey’s Farm is the go-to location for fall photoshoots.

Indulge in a PSL

We can’t talk about fall without mentioning the pumpkin spice latte. Whether you love it or not, these lattes have become the trademark of the fall season, and there’s really no fall without it. Luckily, it’s not hard to find, as almost every café you walk into this season will have the “basic” drink on their seasonal menu.

Enjoy a less-basic fall-inspired drink

Believe it or not, there are other delicious fall-inspired drinks that are just as warm and just as tasty. For an alternative that’s as sweet as the PSL, try a campfire latte from Versus Coffee, or an cinnamon ginger latte from Thank U Coffee.

Or, something stronger

After a summer of margaritas and cold beers on busy, loud patios, it’s time for a quieter, more easy-going night out. It’s time for sipping on a negroni, espresso martini or hot apple ciders in a bar with the ambiance of candle light and classical music. This fall, take it easy by checking out some of Toronto’s more sophisticated bars like Bar Poet, Louix Louix and Parlour.

See jack-o-lanterns come to life at Pumpkins after Dark

There are so many different pumpkin patches and pumpkin festivals worthy of checking out this season, but Pumpkins After Dark is a bit different from the rest. Jack-o-lanterns come to life through this walk-through experience that features over 6,000 pumpkins that have been carved and lit up in some unbelievable images and styles.

Go thrifting for a fall sweater

What do you wear while you’re picking out a pumpkin and sipping on that pumpkin spice latte? A cozy, oversized sweater, of course! Thrifting is the best way to get stoked for the coming season in both an economic and sustainable way. Luckily, the city has plenty of amazing thrift stores. Might we also suggest stocking up on some plaid for winter?

Settle in for an open mic night

During the summer months, there’s always the rush of trying to squeeze in as much outdoor fun as possible. But as soon as September rolls around, it’s time to take it easy and enjoy some more soothing indoor activities. Toronto has plenty of entertainment venues with open mic nights to keep you entertained and out of the cold, including Free Times Café, Handlebar and The Painted Lady.

Get spooked on a ghost tour

Did you know Toronto has some famous ghosts and spirits hanging about its streets? Between Black Creek, Distillery District and the University of Toronto, these ghost tours are sure to get you frightened and in the spirit for Halloween!

Enjoy a scary movie after dark

The Toronto After Dark film festival is back this year from Oct. 19-23 – horror movie buffs, get excited! All-access passes will be available to purchase mid-September, so you can get your fill of horror, sci-fi and action movies all five days.

Road trip to an adorable small town

The picturesque fall colours really pop when you’re strolling down a small, quaint town living your main character moment like Lorelai Gilmore. Imagine sipping a pumpkin spice latte, strolling beneath the golden trees, and looking at the old houses in Port Hope, Elora or Niagara-on-the-Lake. These small towns are only a short drive out of the city!

Soak up the final days patio season

One of the things we’ll all miss most about the summer months is soaking up the sun on some of the city’s coziest patios. But there’s no reason to say goodbye to patio season so soon, as plenty of Toronto’s best are actually heated, including Hemingway’s, Marben and Quadro Restorante.

Go apple picking

If it’s too soon to start the pumpkin obsession, take the chance to enjoy something a little fruitier. Enjoy the farm lifestyle, gallivanting through the trees, picking apples like a child again with over a dozen different apple varieties. Try Country Apple Orchard Farm in King City or Albion Orchards in Caledon.

Bring the whole family to a fall fair

Nothing says fall like a fall fair. Carnival rides, cotton candy, animal farms – it’s a great place to bring the whole family and luckily there are plenty just a few minutes’ drive outside the city, including the Woodbridge Fall Fair in early October and the Markham Fair from Sept. 28 – Oct. 2.

Shop at a farmers market

A new season means a delicious change in what you can find at some local farmers markets. And fall has a lot more to offer than pumpkins and apples. This is the season for cranberries, sweet potatoes, grapes, pears and so much more.  Farmers’ markets are a great summer weekend adventure, but they’re also a great way to spend a fall afternoon.

Stroll through the Toronto Zoo without the crowds

Avoid the summer crowds and hiking miles in the heat by visiting the zoo in the fall. Not only do you get to see some stunning fall colours along the way, but there are more animals out in the open, rather than hiding to avoid the heat.

Curl up with a good book

September means school is in session, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay locked up in a dingy dorm room instead of venturing out. Page One Café is one of the city’s best study spots with community tables, comfy sofas in the back and inspirational typewriter centrepieces. This café will get your creative juices flowing and keep you focused.

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO